Breaking away from tradition: Linking a database of inflection to an electronic dictionary


  • Kristín Bjarnadóttir


Icelandic inflection is complex and there is an abundance of variant forms, which are very often changeable according to time and style. The choice of variants within a paradigm in some cases depends on meaning and context. The tradition in Icelandic dictionaries is to give the principal parts of words, as indicators of inflectional classes. These, however, contain insufficient information for the remainder of the paradigm to be predictable. In an online dictionary this problem can be solved by a link to a database of inflection, such as the Database of Modern Icelandic Inflection (DMII). This is the method chosen in ISLEX, the Icelandic-Scandinavian online dictionary, and as a result the information provided far exceeds the tradition in Icelandic dictionaries. Both projects are under construction at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. The breakaway from tradition also takes place in the actual production of the paradigms for the DMII. Icelandic textbooks and handbooks on morphology describe the system as a whole, i.e., they are constructed ‘top-down’, with a limited number of examples for each inflectional class. The production of DMII is, in contrast, ‘bottom-up’, as it is based on research on individual words, not inflectional classes. The aim is to provide enough information for the user to make an educated choice by himself.





Bjarnadóttir, K. (2012). Breaking away from tradition: Linking a database of inflection to an electronic dictionary. Nordiske Studier I Leksikografi, (11). Hentet fra